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There are NO Kid Fixes for 5-Teens

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Parenting Skills

Posted on Jun, 11 2020 by Rennu Dhillon

Due to the Covid-19 many parents are now working from home, having to juggle between their own virtual business calls and managing the schedules for their children. One of the most difficult age groups to manage is what I call the magical 5-year old “five-teens”.
They are out of preschool but now quite elementary, hence are juggling with trying to find their own identity. Can you imagine being that age when you do not want anyone to call you a baby, and yet you are still not the big kid? When they turn 5, this is a critical time for them, where most of them are filled with energy and trying to discover their own new independence. This is also a time when they learn how to answer back, use the word NO more often and test their parent’s patience the best they can. I call this the “five-teens” age. That’s right parents, we go from the Terrible Two’s to the Five-teens and then the Tweens and Teens. Parenting is a never-ending journey. Believe it or not but using Positive Communication (rather than the word Discipline) you can hopefully make this adventure a little less tiresome.

Most parents will fall into the trap of spending the entire day telling their 5 year old to listen “because you said they have to”, and this as we well know results in more “oppositional behavior”. It is the easiest thing to say to kids, “do this because I told you so”. Just like adults, we need to use diplomatic reverse psychology with our five-teens. Some parents will end up simply giving up and letting their five-teen do whatever they want. That is not the extreme solution either. So, what is?

Here are some ideas, and I am not saying they are guaranteed to work, but they are probably better that being too firm or too lenient.

  1. Try building a relationship of communication with your child. Invest some time and energy developing an actual relationship of talking with your child rather than simply giving them orders and directions. When you get the rebuttal response, spend time explaining why you are giving them the direction and find out their reason for rebuttal.
  2. Use as much calmness and compassion when talking to these five-teens because they are extremely sensitive and get hurt easily. This is not the age to destroy confidence and self-esteem but to build and develop their character. This is the time to open the avenues of communication and pave the way for the future with them.
  3. Spend quality time which means turn off your phone, TV and all distractions and become a kid with your kids. Kids love to be silly with their parents and will engage with you when you get to their level.

Young children need a sense of belonging. Many kids will defy and oppose directions giving to them because they seek attention, so you need to find out the reason for this rather than impose authority. Do you have a new baby at home, have either of the parents been too busy and ignored the child, have their been any issues at home? the list is endless so look into the reasons why a child could be acting up.

  1. Many parents feel by giving in to their children they are giving them the power to do what they want. The question here is not about power. As a parent you are the authority who needs to draw the line for certain demands to ensure it does not become a power struggle. In everything you do, remember you have to always remain the calm adult and parent. Redirection with firm love and kindness, setting reasonable limits with some amount of flexibility is important especially now when kids are cooped up at home due to the Covid-19.

Remember punishments do not always work but taking away privileges for a short period of time are more effective. Kids are kids and we have to remember our own childhood before we try the “dictatorship” parenting style.

Kids have feelings and as parents we need to be sensitive to these feelings that many of them struggle to express in words so revert to “giving lip” and tantrums.

There are no “overnight fixes”! Parenting is a journey through an ocean of high and low tides, and sometimes tsunamis. However, steering the boat in the right direction through the storms makes the adventure a little less stressful.